Having Borderline Personality Disorder does not mean you are sick

A personality disorder is defined in the DSM-IV as “An enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior the deviates markedly from the expectations of the individual’s culture.” and in the DSM-5 as an “impairments in personality functioning and the individual’s personality trait expression are not better understood as normative for the individual’s developmental stage or sociocultural environment.”

It is easy to grasp from this description that a personality disorder is simply a deviation from one’s own culture. You are NOT sick, your brain is just wired differently from the rest of society. Western society doesn’t know what to do with brains that are different, so they label them as sick.  It is so important to grasp this.

Now let’s look through some of the criteria of BPD in the DSM-5:

1. Unstable identity and/or self-direction such as goals and aspirations

It is considered abnormal in Western culture to not have a sense of identity. In other cultures, this is considered normal. Take Buddhism for example: in this Eastern philosophy, it is thought that we do not have an identity. There is NO self in Buddhism. In Taoism, another Eastern philosophy, it is considered normal to be unsure of your life direction, because we are always, CONSTANTLY changing. In Taoism, we are encouraged to go with the ever changing flow of life. It is okay to change paths, continuously.

2.  Compromised ability to recognize the feelings and needs of others associated with interpersonal hypersensitivity (i.e., prone to feel slighted or insulted); perceptions of others selectively biased toward negative attributes or vulnerabilities.

This honestly can NOT be farther away from the truth. People with BPD are the most empathetic people in the world. In Chinese philosophy, it is well known that things exist in opposites. So if you appear extremely unemphatic, it is a sign you are actually incredibly emphatic. If you have BPD and you feel like you honestly have no empathy, talk to me. I doubt you exist.


Above: The ying yang symbol in Chinese philosophy, showing that two opposites are actually the same.

3.. Intense, unstable, and conflicted close relationships, marked by mistrust, neediness, and anxious preoccupation with real or imagined abandonment

This is BEHAVIOR, not a sickness. Of course people leave. It is a fact of life, and it is human to worry about this. The fact that people “abandon” you is merely one way to look at things: it is just a perspective, not a sickness.

4. Close relationships often viewed in extremes of idealization and devaluation and alternating between over involvement and withdrawal. 

Again, this is another perspective. What people do not tell you is that this perspective in particular- the black and white perspective- is actually natural. You can compare it to the workings of quantum particles, which are the matter that make up your entire body and the entire universe. Without going into the nitty gritty details of it (though feel free to do research if you don’t believe me), particles change properties depending on how you measure them. If you measure them as a wave, it will be a wave. If you measure them as a particle, it will be a particle. This is called particle-wave duality. The main point here is that particles can instantly switch between having two properties, just like people with borderline personality disorder switch between two perspectives, idealization and devaluation. People with borderline personality disorder are NOT sick, they just merely operate closer to the workings of the universe.

5. Chronic feelings of emptiness; dissociative states under stress

Guess what? Atoms are at least 99.9999% empty space. So the feeling of emptiness and dissociation is normal, it is again closer to the inner workings of the universe. 

If you can switch your perspective, you can change your reality. So if you have borderline personality disorder, understand this:


You just have behaviors that are different from your culture, and your behaviors are consistent with those of nature. So this is more reason to love yourself. LOVE YOURSELF, you are the universe.

If you can find the power to love yourself and appreciate how your brain works, you WILL HEAL. You can heal, I promise. And you know how I know this?

Because I have healed.



5 thoughts

  1. Great post. Thank you for sharing.
    I have a question, do you feel that perhaps due to this condition of being borderline that you and others are enlightened or at least more enlightened than those who do not have it?


    1. That is a really good question. I would not say that people with BPD are enlightened, but they have a higher chance of becoming enlightened if they actively seek treatment and answers to their condition, since that is what happened to me. Assuming I’m enlightened…though I feel like I have a long way to go before I reach that state fully. How would you define enlightenment?


      1. Hummm if you were enlightened you would not have to tell me, it would be obvious. Telling someone that you are enlightenment falls under the “actions speak louder than words” heading. If you have ever met anyone who is enlightened like a high lama you would know this to be true. Their enlightened qualities are ever present for all to see. I doubt very much that the Buddha or any other enlightened person had a phase or time in their life were some doctor said hey man you have BPD, or you are somehow deviated from our culture.
        I know or have met several people with BPD and I could not describe their actions or their way of relating to others as being especially enlightened, if I am honest it would be quite the , sorry I mean no personal offense. Now that being said I do not mean that it in any way is impossible for a person with BPD to arrive at enlightenment, everyone has the same Buddha nature and therefore can if they wish aspire or work towards this goal. There is no discrimination in Buddhism.
        I find one thing you mentioned here interesting “Guess what? Atoms are at least 99.9999% empty space. So the feeling of emptiness and dissociation is normal, it is again closer to the inner workings of the universe.” This explanation of emptiness is incorrect. Emptiness should never be explained in the same sentence with dissociation. There are not the same or even similar things. From the Buddhist perspective emptiness is described in the following way. When we say that something is empty we means that things are empty of any real and true existence in and of themselves. This means:
        1. It is simply that things are not as we see them. We do not see things as they really are we apply all sorts of labels from bad and good to red or blue to everything that we perceive. However things simply are, they are not good or bad. For example you and I see a rose. Let’s say You have an allergy to roses and you see or apply pain and suffering to the rose. I have no allergy and I say oh what a sweet smell and such a rich red colour. Who is right? Neither of us actually have any correct perception, as the rose is just a rose. You want to avoid and run away and I desire to have and take the rose. Do you see where this leads to? So emptiness shows us that things are free of the labels we attach to things we see.

        2. Emptiness also show us that things are interconnected. No true existence in and of themselves tells us that all things composite are forever changing and dependent on a plethora of factors. Let’s examine the rose again. Is it just a rose or is it the combination of sunshine, rain, the hard work of the bees pollinating the flowers, the richness of microbes and nutrients in the soil, and all the other factors in the universe that make this rose exactly what it is in this very instant? I say in this instance because in the next instance the rise has changed, it has grown, or is dying and so forth. I can in now way incorporate dissociation with emptiness in fact I can only see how it leads us to love, in fact an equanimous love.

        Perhaps you could help me out and answer another question, if I may. So to the subject of meditation, do you think or feel that there is any particular form of meditation that is useful for someone with BPD? And the opposite question are there forms of meditation that are not good for people who have BPD?

        I thank you for your kind and respectful dialog,



      2. Of course, I enjoy discussions like this.
        I agree with the fact that people who are enlightened don’t need to say it. You can just FEEL the energy, and it is truly amazing. I often wish I could exhibit the same energy, but I also realize I have to let go of the desire to, in order to reach it. I thank you for your answer, as I’m still trying to figure out what enlightenment even is.
        People with BPD have a frequent feeling of being empty. I’m glad you pointed my atom metaphor out, because I was not comparing it to the Buddhist experience of emptiness, but rather a scientific one- I can make that clearer next time. Knowing that atoms are fundamentally empty can help one cope with a constant feeling of emptiness. With BPD, you honestly never feel like you’re filled at all. You always, always feel empty, and the feeling of fullness is temporary. The knowledge that atoms, and particles right down to their quantum level, are in fact empty, is revitalizing. It helps me feel that I’m just natural and closer to the inner workings of the universe.
        What I do completely disagree that emptiness and dissociation can’t be in the same sentence, because to me, they are one of the same. I believe the Buddhist experience of emptiness, as you described, mirrors the experience of what Western psychologists describe as dissociation, but with a minor difference, which I will explain.
        I personally experience dissociation on the daily. I always have, ever since I was a little kid, so I speak from my personal experience with it.
        With dissociation, you can see that everything is free from labels, just as you described. You can also see that things are interconnected, because its tough to separate your reality into pieces. It all kind of looks like its flowing together, constantly, like a movie. You literally just feel like air, completely formless.
        The part I would say that makes dissociation just slightly different from the Buddhist description of emptiness, is the feeling that you, yourself, are connected to that reality. I’ve always felt a huge disconnect between this interconnected reality in front of me and myself. With meditation and training, I’ve been able to feel that connection. It’s a truly phenomenal experience, and I’m sure you’ve felt it yourself.
        I feel as if having dissociation has given me an advantage to feeling that Oneness: since I already had half of the puzzle (the interconnected, unlabeled reality in front of me), I was just missing the other half, the profound insight that I was part of it as well.
        The best meditations for people with BPD are ones that help us cultivate this connection between the world and ourselves. So keeping our eyes open, throwing yourself into the moment, and finding the beauty in each and every moment. This helps us connect to the world around us, instead of always being dissociated from it. This can help us see the beauty in the emptiness we feel. Meditation that is not useful for people with BPD is anything strict and forceful. Such as trying to force yourself into one sitting position forever, or trying to control your breath in a certain way. It must be non-restrictive and free-flowing.
        My questions for you, what kinds of meditation are there, and which one is the restrictive one- is it Zen meditation? I’m only just researching other forms of meditation, beyond the one I practice. I practice Shambhala meditation. What do you practice?


      3. Dear Shunya,

        Thank you for your openness to continue our dialogue. As far as enlightenment is concerned anyone who wants it is still trying to figure it out, it is something that cannot be explained in words. Many texts are said to be pointing it out or leading us to it. The real experience is beyond our limited perception.
        As for emptiness, it seems that you do not understand it as I have explained or pointed towards it from a Buddhist perspective. Actually, this is ok as this is a difficult topic and definitely on that can also be contentious and is often discussed as ones understanding changes over time and with practice. I am however sure that emptiness points us to “a” ssociation and definitely not “dis” association. Buddhists are not nihilists trying to meditate ourselves into nothingness. Perhaps this is a better word for what you mean is nothingness. What emptiness is getting at is more like “no thing ness” what this points out is that things are not as they seem, independent, everlasting, and true sources of satisfaction and happiness. In fact, they are the opposite, completely interdependent, impermanent, and not satisfying. Maybe this will bring you closer to understanding what I mean.

        While in some philosophical circles oneness is ok, it is not in Buddhism. Here is the argument. In our dualistic world if there is oneness then there must also be manyness or twoness or threeness etc. What we are getting at or pointing to is beyond even this idea of oneness. At this point, it is difficult to go further without knowing how you see what I have already said.

        As for your meditation, it seems like you are referring to a sort of basic mindfulness meditation. I would say that anything beyond this is not advised as it is as you alluded to that it might feel restrictive. Have a read on my site http://www.quantumawareness.net for more information as to sitting posture and beginning Tibetan meditation to know what I mean. Have you by chance read my latest blog entry on mental health and Buddhism? I would love to know what you think.
        I do not practice Zen, but I think it might be as you said, but do not quote me, I have no experience here. As to what I practice, it is called guru yoga and Ngondro, and it is within the frame of the Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism. Here one identifies with the enlightened qualities of the teacher until one demonstrates these desired qualities themselves. I won’t elude further as one definitely requires a teacher with this practice. This practice is not for everyone BPD or not, it is complex and takes years of diligent practice to even begin to understand, and I am simply on the way.

        Once again thank you for your time and thoughtful response,



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